05 September 2008

Word Search 2

Apropos - adj. - Of an appropriate or pertinent nature.

laconic - adj. - Using as few words as possible to communicate much information; pithy and concise.

venal - adj. - venous; pertaining to veins

Gordian Knot - N. - From the name of a legendary knot tied to a pole near the temple of Zeus in Gordium. It was prophesied that whoever loosed the knot would become ruler of all Asia. Alexander the Great solved the puzzle by slicing through the knot and took it as a sign of Zeus's favor. He then proceeded to conquer much of the known world.

corporatism - N. - Political system in which power is exercised through large organizations (businesses, trade unions, etc) working in concert with each other, under the direction of the state.

1 comment:

régis said...

Apropos, always makes me think of its antithesis, malapropism: The use of an absurdly inappropriate word in place of a similar sounding one.

From the biological meaning of venal, I direct you to its vernacular but less literal meaning: "the quality or fact of being for sale," and from that to its use as an insulting adjective: "ready to prostitute one's talents or principles for mercenary reasons."

It is interesting to remember that the "lacon-" of laconic refers to Laconia, the province in which the city of Sparta lay. Laconic is then, in some sense, contained within the definition of the lower-case-L adjective spartan: "austere, frugal or characterized by self-denial"

And it is prudent, lest we become too angered or awed by Alexander-who-conquered-the-world, to remember that, in some histories, he died young, after a day of heavy drinking.